By Paulinus Onah
Commissioner of Health in Anambra State, Dr. Vincent Okpala has expressed the readiness of his Ministry to confront covid-19 pandemic headlong. Speaking in an interactive radio program ‘Nzuko Anambra’ Dr Okpala exuded confidence in the ability of the State Government to stem the tide of the global pandemic in the State. ”We have also trained (and stationed) health personnel in all the 326 political wards across communities, who collect samples for testing, free of charge.
”When the virus was rampaging last year (2020), there was no testing centre, but we now have well equipped testing centres in Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka and the Onitsha General Hospital. Across the 326 political wards, five persons each have been trained to take samples for testing.’’
The Commissioner therefore advised citizens of the State to call them or go to the testing centres and get tested. We have Protective Care Centres not Isolation centres and the idea is to halt stigmatisation of COVID-19 patients. We don’t isolate people except those in critical condition; the protective care centres were built to world class standards.
”We are among the first states to begin treatment of people from home, especially cases detected early but such a person has to obey rules as stipulated to him or her. Go to the lab, if you have any symptoms of the virus including, fatigue, headache, loss of taste, don’t assume it’s malaria until you are tested,’’ advised Dr. Okpala who gave reasons for high rate of the recent spread of the pandemic in the State.
According to him, ”People lost control of themselves during the festive seasons and did not obey COVID-19 protocols; this was responsible for a spike of infection rate over the past weeks. People didn’t follow protocols. we had earlier sensitised the market leaders, traditional rulers, transporters and teachers but people lost consciousness of the pandemic.’’ He therefore advised Anambrarians to be conscious, avoid body contacts, handshakes from friends, relations, while explaining that ”some might have the virus without knowing it; the best way is for people to avail themselves of the testing”.
Dr. Okpala disclosed that traditional rulers, religious leaders, president generals in Anambra State have been saved to mobilize their people to go for the ongoing compulsory Covid19 test in the State. The Health Commissioner tasked the people to submit themselves to COVID-19 testing in order to stem the spread of the disease. ”Every case of ‘malaria’ must be assumed to be COVID-19 until proved otherwise. The State Government has been affront in fight the against the virus,” he remarked.